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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Italian-inspired Spaghetti Squash

The first time I ever cooked spaghetti squash, the whole process turned me off on even growing the vegetable for several years.  My product was watery and unsatisfying, and I didn't think it was much like spaghetti at all.

My problem was that I expected to treat the squash exactly like I would noodles -- pile it on the plate, dip some tomatoes onto it in lieu of sauce, and top with cheese.  This made the whole thing too watery and strange.

I've since learned that you can make a very respectable spaghetti dish with spaghetti squash, but you have to treat it differently to get a great product.  So here's my version of spaghetti, squash-style.

Italian-inspired Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash
2 balls (approximately 1/2 pound) homemade sausage
1/2 jar tomato sauce (organic, or your own -- more to taste)
Freshly-chopped basil.

1.  Cook your squash.  Split the squash in half lengthwise, and turn the squash upside down in a shallow pan of water.  Bake at 350 until soft, about an hour.  Remove seeds, then remove flesh with a fork, which will separate the squash into fibers that look like spaghetti.

2.  Fry your sausage into crumbles in a large saute pan.  Add the spaghetti squash, and let cook for a couple of minutes to get any extra moisture out of the squash.

3.  Add sauce and basil; cook until heated through.

Your squash will still have a bit of a toothsome texture, so don't expect this to be truly noodle-like, but it is seriously yummy and a great way to get some extra vitamins and fiber while avoiding a purchase of pasta!

The Analysis
Fast:  Other than the baking of the squash, this comes together quickly, with maybe 30 minutes of actual kitchen time.

Cheap:  Squash and basil from the garden, plus homemade sausage, made this a budget winner for us.  I only had to add a partial jar of organic tomato sauce, on which I caught a very good deal at the store!

Good:  This made about 3-4 servings, which were seriously yummy.
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